All Blacks coach wary of Coetzee's mind games

South Africa's Jan Serfontein muscling his way past Australia's Reece Hodge to score a try during the Rugby Championship match in Bloemfontein, South Africa last week. The Springboks were held to a 27-27 draw and will next face the All Blacks on Satu
South Africa's Jan Serfontein muscling his way past Australia's Reece Hodge to score a try during the Rugby Championship match in Bloemfontein, South Africa last week. The Springboks were held to a 27-27 draw and will next face the All Blacks on Saturday.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

JOHANNESBURG • New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has dismissed a defeatist comment by South Africa counterpart Allister Coetzee as "reverse psychology" ahead of a Rugby Championship clash this weekend.

Speaking after a 27-27 draw with Australia last weekend, Coetzee said anyone who believes his inexperienced Springboks can easily topple the All Blacks "is living in a fool's paradise".

He has suffered three humiliating losses to New Zealand since he replaced Heyneke Meyer last year - 41-13 in Christchurch, 57-15 in Durban and 57-0 in Auckland.

The Auckland annihilation last month was the heaviest defeat suffered by the Springboks in their 126-year history.

"It is reverse psychology," insisted Hansen on Tuesday in Cape Town, where the teams meet on Saturday before a sell-out 52,000 crowd in Newlands Stadium. "Believe it if you (the media) want to, but we will not. You have got to understand what Allister is up to with that comment - he is psyching his own team up."

He watched on TV the stalemate between South Africa and Australia in Bloemfontein and believed the home side could have won.

"I thought they (South Africa) were pretty dangerous and had they just been more accurate at times they would have scored some more points," he said.

He believes New Zealand were flattered by the 57-point triumph at Eden Park in which the reigning world champions scored eight tries.

"The fact that the score got away probably was not a true reflection. We were pretty fortunate. Every opportunity we created, we took," he said.

The 58-year-old said winning the Rugby Championship last weekend for the fifth time in six attempts in no way diminished the significance of the Cape Town Test.

"You know the All Blacks and you know that they are under pressure all the time to win and win well," he said. "Winning the title last weekend does not change anything.

"We are playing against the old foe with a lot of history and we have a lot of respect for them."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2017, with the headline 'All Blacks coach wary of Coetzee's mind games'. Print Edition | Subscribe